Prime Minister of Hungary Blessings for Rosh HaShanah18-

September 21, 2020

The EJA warmly thanks H.E. Viktor Orbán, Prime Minister of Hungary, for His Excellency’s kind wishes to the European Jewry in light of the recent holiday of Rosh Hashanah

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נשיאת הפרלמנט האירופי באושוויץ: ״אנחנו רואים שוב ניסיון להשמיד עם באירופה״

נשיאת הפרלמנט האירופי, רוברטה מטסולה, בביקורת חריפה נגד רוסיה באשר למלחמה אותה היא מבצעת באוקראינה. מטסולה, פוליטיקאית ממלטה, השתתפה אתמול (שני) באירוע אזכרה במחנה ההשמדה אושוויץ – בירקנאו שנערך במסגרת כנס המנהיגים האירופאים השנתי למאבק באנטישמיות שמקיים איגוד הארגונים היהודים באירופה (EJA). הכנס נערך בסמיכות ליום השנה ה-84 לפוגרום ליל הבדולח, שהיווה את המתקפה האלימה רחבת ההיקף הראשונה של המשטר הנאצי נגד האוכלוסיה היהודית ברחבי הרייך הגרמני.

בכנס השתתפו גם ראש ממשלת מונטנגרו, הנציב האירופי לענייני הרחבת האיחוד, ראשי הפרלמנט מצרפת ומצ׳כיה ונציגים נוספים מכ-20 מדינות.

מטסולה התייחסה לשימוש שעושה רוסיה במונח ״דה-נאציפיקציה״ כהצדקה למלחמה נגד אוקראינה באומרה: ״זה שימוש ציני. אנחנו רואים שוב באירופה ניסיון להשמיד עם. לכן, לנוכחות שלנו כאן יש משמעות גדולה יותר כדי לחזור ולהדגיש שלאירופה אסור לחוות שוב את מה שקרה כאן ואנחנו צריכים להיאבק בכל סוגי התעמולה והנרטיבים שצומחים באדמתנו״.

בתשובה לשאלת ״ישראל היום״ על היוזמות הממסדיות ברחבי האיחוד האירופי לאסור מסורות יהודיות כשחיטה כשרה ומילה, אמרה מטסולה: ״אנחנו רואים דוגמאות שונות לאנטישמיות במדינות-חברות שונות של האיחוד האירופי. אנחנו רואים גם סובלנות גדלה לכך. זו לא רק אחריותנו הפוליטית אלא גם משפטית לפעול באמצעות המוסדות שלנו להגן על כל אזרח שחי באיחוד״.

רוברטה מטסולה בכניסה למחנה ההשמדה,

הנציב להרחבת האיחוד האירופי, אוליבר ווארהליי, הבהיר מצדו שהאיחוד האירופי לא יכול להסתפק רק בגיבוש אסטרטגיות למאבק באנטישמיות, אלא לעבור למעשים. ״פעולה משמעה לא רק מאבק באנטישמיות אלא החזרת החיים היהודיים לאירופה״, הדגיש ווארהליי, ״זה מה שחסר לנו. באופן מצער אנטישמיות לא רק נוכחת באירופה אלא גם צומחת. אנחנו רואים סוגים אלימים שלה. אחריותנו בכל המדינות האירופיות ובכל דרג שלטון היא לקום, להתנגד לכך ולהילחם בכך. הנציבות הבהירה שלא ייתכן שיהיה ספק כלשהו לגבי הצורך במאבק באנטישמיות או בעצידה לצד הקהילה היהודית. הקהילה היהודית היא העוצמה שלנו. על כולנו לתמוך בה״.

״אנחנו עדים לעליה באנטישמיות בכל רחבי אירופה״, הרב מנחם מרגולין, צילום: יוסי זליגר

הרב מנחם מרגולין, יו״ר איגוד הארגונים היהודיים באירופה, סיפר למשתתפי הכנס ששני ילדיו בני העשרה חוו רק לפני שבוע אנטישמיות, לא הרחק ממטה האיחוד האירופי בבריסל, כשנוסעת באוטובוס קיללה אותם ״יהודים מלוכלכים״. ״אנחנו עדים לעלייה באנטישמיות בכל רחבי אירופה״, התריע מרגולין, “ליהודים יש הרבה מה לתרום לחברה האירופית, ואני מקווה שכולם ישלבו כוחות כדי להבטיח שליהדות באירופה יהיה עתיד טוב יותר. עתיד טוב יותר ליהודים, יהיה עתיד טוב יותר לאירופה״.

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COVID Diary- Reflections from Our Advisory Board Member Rabbi Binyomin Jacobs

Every Day during the Corona crisis our Advisory Board Member Chief Rabbi Binyomin Jacobs (NL) writes a diary, on request of the Jewish Cultural Quarter in Amsterdam, which is published on the website of the NIW, the only Jewish Dutch Magazine. Rabbi Jacobs is the head of Inter Governmental Relationships at the Rabbinical Centre of Europe. We will be regularly publishing a selection of his informative, sometimes light hearted, but always wise pieces.
For our Dutch readers you can follow the diary every day at NIW home page: https://niw.nl
Surcharge affairs
This diary, setup by the Jewish Cultural Quarter in Holland, was designed to get an impression of my life during the corona pandemic.
Every now and then I almost forget that there is corona, but around New Year’s Eve I was pressed hard on the fact. Overcrowded hospitals and the threat of doctors having to judge life and death. Who do we treat and who do we leave to their own devices?
In the meantime, I watched a New Year’s Eve show for the first time in my life because I was curious and because I also performed in it: “ Old and New of Christians for Israel. ” And although I had a little intention to look at the New Year’s Eve conference by Joep van het Hek, I didn’t do that after all.
Reason: 1: waste of time. 2: Although I am very good at jokes and can be ridiculed with anything and everything, I find swearing unacceptable. Just a short explanation on point 1: From Jewish thinking it is wrong to waste time. Relaxing is fine. I walk every day because it is good for body and mind. But really doing nothing at all or doing something that is completely meaningless, that is not the case. Why then do I read newspapers and listen to the news obediently, you ask. Because, let’s be honest, whether or not I am aware of the number of daily corona infections is not much use. On the contrary! It makes me quite depressed and so do many others. Even all those crazy conspiracy theories about the vaccine are not among my beloved reading.
On the other hand I need news information to know how to act when or to continue to be able to write my diary and / or give a Jewish view on current affairs.
But following the news every second is totally unnecessary. The meaningful use of time is an important Jewish commandment.
About 2, the swearing. I am on the Committee of Recommendation of the League Against Curses. I was approached for that at the time and said yes. I sit on many Committees of Recommendation (so I recommend a lot!), But I am never in any place to be in it, but only use my name if I endorse the purpose of the Foundation. And I find swearing unacceptable because it hurts. So: freedom of expression with a limit, so I obediently sit on the Committee of Recommendation of the heavily Christian League against Cursing.
Friday evening and Shabbat went like weekly, except I was worried about our Friday evening ‘regular guest’ who was clearly much more tired than usual, did not walk well and indicated that on New Years Eve he had eaten eleven donuts on his own, while he had a lot be careful with sugar.
Immediately after Shabbat I called him to ask how he had fared, but thank G-d he is doing well. My grandson from England, who is still trapped here between England and Israel, where he studies, actually knows very little about his Dutch ancestors. So I shared what I know and came to the conclusion that I myself know nothing at all about the 80% of my family who “did not return”. They were not talked about at home! While explaining the horrors the war has caused here, I decided to let him watch “The Menten Case” with English subtitles. In the meantime, I have also watched (along) for the umpteenth time. Apart from the war criminal and the war crimes that are shown and that should not be forgotten, I continue to be annoyed by the corruption surrounding Menten. Government officials who allow themselves to be bribed, are threatened with lawsuits, Hans Knoop who is fired, his photographer who must have made huge money from him and who eventually can also be bribed. I am thinking of the Supplement affair. How could this have happened in our country! And issues like this still happen, on a daily basis.
Corona is a plague, but so are the Supplement affairs. I deliberately write affairs in the plural. Because the surcharges affair has surfaced (thanks to the media!), But what else is going on in affairs that were and / or are invisible? I know a few more!

Statement on COVID-19 economic policy response

Following up on the videoconference on 10 March 2020 between European Council Members, as well as the ECB President, the Eurogroup President and the High Representative, the Eurogroup held an in-depth discussion today, together with non-Euro Area Members, on how to respond to the extraordinary human and economic crisis caused by the Corona virus.
The Eurogroup expressed its sympathy and solidarity with the citizens and the Member States particularly hit by this crisis and its gratitude to those risking their own health to save lives. The Eurogroup is following the situation very closely and is in permanent contact and coordinated to give a strong economic policy response to the exceptional situation. Our commitments of today reflect our strong determination to do whatever it takes to effectively address the current challenges and to restore confidence and support a rapid recovery.
Today, we welcomed all the measures taken by Member States and by the European Commission, in particular those taken to ensure that health systems and civil protection systems are adequately provided for to contain and treat the disease, preserve the wellbeing of our citizens and help firms and workers that are particularly affected.
Facing these exceptional circumstances, we agreed that an immediate, ambitious and co-ordinated policy response is needed. We have decided to act and will respond swiftly and flexibly to developments as they unfold. We will make use of all instruments necessary to limit the socio-economic consequences of the COVID-19 outbreak. We have therefore put together a first set of national and European measures while setting a framework for further actions to respond to developments and to support the economic recovery. Preliminary estimates of the European Commission show that total fiscal support to the economy will be very sizeable. We have, so far, decided fiscal measures of about 1% of GDP, on average, for 2020 to support the economy, in addition to the impact of automatic stabilisers, which should work fully. We have, so far, committed to provide liquidity facilities of at least 10% of GDP, consisting of public guarantee schemes and deferred tax payments. These figures could be much larger going forward.
The following measures are part of our co-ordinated responses to protect our economies.
1. All national authorities will allow automatic stabilisers to function and in addition implement all necessary measures to ensure that the economic consequences of COVID-19 are tackled and that they do not put in danger our economic and social achievements. To the extent required by the evolving situation in each country, they will implement temporary measures such as:

    • Immediate fiscal spending targeted at containment and treatment of the disease. Adequate resources will be provided to our health sectors and civil protection systems;
    • Liquidity support for firms facing severe disruption and liquidity shortages, especially SMEs and firms in severely affected sectors and regions, including transport and tourism – this can include tax measures, public guarantees to help companies to borrow, export guarantees and waiving of delay penalties in public procurement contracts;
    • Support for affected workers to avoid employment and income losses, including short-term work support, extension of sick pay and unemployment benefits and deferral of income tax payments.

2. Coordinated efforts at the European level will supplement national measures:

    • We welcome the Commission’s proposal for a €37 billion “Corona Response Investment Initiative” directed at health care systems, SMEs, labour markets and other vulnerable parts of our economies, and to make a further €28 billion of structural funds fully eligible for meeting these expenditures. We agreed on the need to implement the necessary legislative changes as quickly as possible;
    • We welcome the initiative of the Commission and the EIB Group to mobilise up to €8 billion of working capital lending for 100,000 European firms, backed by the EU budget, by enhancing programmes for guaranteeing bank credits to SMEs. We also support the ongoing efforts of the Commission and the EIB Group to increase this amount to up to €20 billion, which would reach a further 150,000 firms. We also welcome the ongoing work to make further funds available as swiftly as possible and to enhance the flexibility of the financial instruments leveraged;
    • We welcome the initiative of the EIB Group to catalyse €10 billion in additional investments in SMEs and midcaps for their own account and to accelerate the deployment of another €10 billion backed by the EU budget;
    • We invite the EIB to further enhance and accelerate the impact of the available resources, including through enhanced collaboration with the National Development Banks;
    • We also welcomed the package of monetary policy measures taken by the ECB last week aimed at supporting liquidity and funding conditions for households, businesses and banks, help the smooth provision of credit to the real economy, and avoid fragmentation of euro area financial markets in order to preserve the smooth transmission of monetary policy.

3. Beyond the immediate, targeted response, we are working on all the necessary measures, to help the economy recover once the coronavirus has receded. We acknowledge the need to reflect on the resilience of our European strategic value chains to better protect Europe from product and capital market disruptions in the future. We have already significantly strengthened our crisis management framework, including with the establishment of the ESM. Today we recommit to continue our work to further strengthen the architecture and resilience to shocks of the Economic and Monetary Union.
Our shared rules will support this response. In particular, we discussed the application of the SGP, state aid rules and prudential rules:

  • The economic shock of the coronavirus, with an economic contraction now expected this year, together with the cost of our agreed measures, will have a substantial budgetary impact. The SGP has the flexibility needed to cater for this situation and we will make full use of this flexibility in all member states.
  • Automatic stabilisers will fully play their role. This means that automatic revenue shortfalls and unemployment benefit increases resulting from the drop in economic activity will not affect compliance with the applicable fiscal rules, targets and requirements. In addition, we agreed that the budgetary effects of temporary fiscal measures taken in response to COVID-19 will be excluded when assessing compliance with the EU fiscal rules, targets and requirements. This includes the budgetary impact of temporary and targeted measures, such as those urgently needed to contain and treat the pandemic, ensure liquidity support to firms and sectors, and protect jobs and incomes of affected workers. The flexibility to cater for unusual events outside the control of government is applicable to the current situation. We welcome the readiness of the Commission to activate the general escape clause, allowing for further discretionary stimulus, while preserving medium-term sustainability.
  • We welcomed the Commission guidance on the scope for supporting firms that is available within state aid rules in the current circumstances, together with the Commission announcement that it has accelerated its state aid approval processes. The Commission has announced it will approve additional measures needed to remedy this serious disturbance in the economy, which is already the case for Italy and increasingly across the EU. Taking urgent action and making full use of the flexibility foreseen in the state aid rules is necessary to cushion the effect of the crisis for those companies and sectors which are affected, whilst ensuring a consistent framework and a level playing field in the single market. The Commission stands ready to issue a specific framework shortly.
  • The banking system has a key role in preventing this health emergency from turning into a social and economic crisis for businesses and households. We therefore welcomed the statement by the European Banking Authority that competent authorities should make full use, where appropriate, of the flexibility embedded in existing regulation to support the banking sector in view of the current exceptional circumstances.
  • In particular, we also welcomed the decisions taken by ECB Banking Supervision providing temporary capital and operational relief to euro area banks, with a view to ensuring that supervised banks can continue to fulfil their role in funding the real economy as the economic effects of the coronavirus become apparent. Such flexibility is needed to avoid, as much as possible, pro-cyclical, unintended consequences for the financial sector.

We will take whatever further coordinated and decisive policy action is necessary, including fiscal measures, to support growth and employment.

Anti-Zionist group demands colleges reveal staff ties to Israel

An anti-Zionist group in the Netherlands is using a freedom of information request pressure Dutch universities into revealing whether any of their staff members have ties to Israel.
The freedom of information request was filed by “The Rights Forum” group, and also seeks to identify what ties and staff relations exist with Jewish communities and organizations such as the Simon Wiesenthal Centre.
The Chief Rabbi of the Netherlands, Binyomin Jacobs, Chief Rabbi (NL), who also heads up the European Jewish Association’s Committee for Combatting Antisemitism, condemned the The Rights Forum, saying the information request “reeks of antisemitism”.
“The Rights Forum is well known to me. Let us be clear, they want to know any Israeli, any Israeli link and any Jewish people in universities in Holland. The clear inference is that some shadowy Zionist or Jewish cabal is operating in the Dutch university system. This reeks of antisemitism, but it comes as no surprise to me given this group’s reputation.”
“No. What really concerns me is the number of universities that were so compliant with such a transparently antisemitic request. It reminds us that most mayors cooperated during the occupation to pass on the names of their Jewish citizens to the Germans.”
“The difference between anti-Zionism and antisemitism is now wafer thin. In all my many years in Holland I can seldom remember such a toxic environment for Jews. This is an appalling submission to the base instincts of an openly hostile group towards Israel, the world’s only Jewish State.”

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